Interbrand Thinking is a philosophy for building continous relevance through a deep understanding of people, businesses, and their interactions.
Interbrand Thinking is aimed at making organisations, products and services more relevant by making them play a more meaningful role in people’s lives. The ultimate, peak form of relevance is iconicity – when a brand is seen as indispensable and as a symbol that is part of a culture.
These are not disjointed perspectives, but the three indispensable components of a single, interdisciplinary, philosophy.
When we compete on a single lens, we face intense competition from numerous parties. When we show an equal, seamlessly integrated understanding of all three, we are providing a unique, distinct approach that can be applied to virtually any business challenge.
Each lens may lead to in-depth work or may be considered at a lighter touch level, depending on the challenge, budget and timing. What is crucial, however, is that each of the three perspectives is an integral and decisive component of our approach.
For this reason, we have translated these lenses into three simple principles, which must run across every single piece of work we do.
What makes Interbrand Thinking unique?
Our new approach to brand building is a radical departure from the conventions of branding – so before going into more detail, let’s take a quick look at the key benefits of our new way of approaching our clients’ challenges. Consider using these as part of an elevator pitch for Interbrand Thinking – or a clear answer to any question about the strengths of our approach.
From static to dynamic.
Brand building is not about defining what a business stands for, but diagnosing where it should go next in a fast changing environment. This is why we design and deliver evolving roadmaps – not static frameworks, statements and guidelines. Think of traditional branding as being photography, and Interbrand Thinking film making.
From just where to go to, also, how to get there.
The real heart of a good strategy isn’t setting goals but determining how to achieve them. This is why we’ve moved from the classic concept of positioning to the idea of Trajectory – a clear route that leverages the brand’s unique advantages to create superior relevance, win demand and outdo the competition.
From indefinite to timebound.
Traditional branding constructs seem to exist in a vacuum – while in reality businesses think in terms of years, quarters and months. Interbrand Thinking brings time into the equation.
This is why we’ve introduced the idea of Ambition – where you want to be by when. An Ambition proximate objective that people in the organisation know they can potentially achieve, and that can therefore drive and focus their efforts.
From vague to measurable.
Conventional branding typically keeps some distance from measurable business goals – which inevitably makes it abstract, cosmetic and/or scarcely influential. Our approach, instead, is anchored to one or more objective measures of success. For this reason, our concept of Ambition isn’t only timebound – it is also underpinned by one or more KPIs and, for each of them, a clear target. After all, you can only really manage what you measure.
From communication to moves.
We don’t only want to change what people see, but also what they feel, think, remember and do.
Communication and design alone cannot achieve this – it takes diverse moves to surpass and shift people’s expectations. From product design to M&As, from ethical stances to new sources of revenue… we have the permission and the duty to take brand building beyond guidelines, grids and layouts.
From identity to leadership.
Over the past decades, the role of the world’s most valuable brands has risen from being effective marketing identifiers to powerfully expressing societal leadership – this is why we now talk of brands as acts of leadership.
Therefore, our role is shifting to helping our clients do things right by creating exceptional experiences, and do the right thing through clear and uncompromising ethics. Interbrand Thinking provides the platform to do that.
Our three lenses give us a deep understanding of people, organisations, and their interactions.
Our clients’ question
What do customers expect, now and next?
What results are we going to see, now and next?
What moves should we make, now and next?
We understand what’s changing about people that businesses need to know now – to shape their next.
We build confidence in change by making a case for it. We line up the knowns and unknowns to determine business rewards and risk – and focus on the right opportunities.
Instead of trying to change what people see, we want to change what they do.
Why it’s important
We inspire change by ensuring the business is in touch and in tune with people, to become and stay relevant.
We inform change by giving leaders the confidence to make the right moves.
We shape change by building interactions that influence how people think, feel and, ultimately, behave.
What it delivers
We uncover not just what’s going on, but the deep meanings and motivations behind it – insights that are fresh, provocative, and generative.
We bring quantitative and commercial evidence to decision making, by determining the risks and rewards of ideas and their likely business impact.
We apply the lens of Experiences to take actions that change and improve the way people interact with a brand, a business, or a category. We make incremental changes that make things better for people, and bold moves that create a new normal.
How it works
We use a variety of techniques to conform to economic and timing constraints, ranging from online communities to in-person Big Talks, from in-depth interviews and vox pops, from ethnography to social media analysis.
Our Economics viewpoint is informed by 20+ years of analysing the world’s best brands. In addition, our financial modelling is underpinned by a variety of tools and approaches, from quantitative research to concept testing, from Brand Strength to Monte Carlo simulation, from business model analysis to demand space analysis.
Our Experiences viewpoint uses the power of design, language and technology to fix, optimise and transform interactions between brands and customers, delivering at every moment the right combination of desire and utility.
Work quality question
Is there a powerful insight?
Is it going to deliver results?
Is it going to change people’s behaviours?